Developing Intelligence

Chris Chatham

Stimulating the brain with high frequency electrical noise can supersede the beneficial effects observed from transcranial direct current stimulation, either anodal or cathodal (as well as those observed from sham stimulation), in perceptual learning, as newly reported by Fertonani, Pirully & Miniussi in the Journal of Neuroscience. The authors suggest that transcranial random noise stimulation…

In their wonderful Neuroimage article, Braun & Mattia present a comprehensive introduction to the possible neuronal implementations and cognitive sequelae of a particular dynamical phenomenon: the attractor state. In another excellent paper, just recently out in Frontiers, Itskov, Hansel and Tsodyks describe how such attractor dynamics may be insufficient to support working memory processing unless…

If you ever said to yourself, “I wonder whether the human mid- and posterior ventrolateral prefrontal cortex has a homologue in the monkey, and what features of its cytoarchitecture or subcortical connectivity may differentiate it from other regions of PFC” then this post is for you. Otherwise, move along.

Suppose – rather reasonably – that soups which taste like garlic have garlic in them. You observe two people eating soup; one of them says to the other, “There is no garlic in this soup.” Do you think it’s likely that the soup taste like garlic? If you said yes, then congratulations! You’ve just committed…

Last month’s Frontiers in Psychology contains a fascinating study by Dambacher, Hübner, and Schlösser in which the authors demonstrate that the promise of financial reward can actually reduce performance when rewards are given for high accuracy. Counterintuitively, performance (characterized as accuracy per unit time) is actually better increased by financial rewards for response speed in…

Owing to the low signal-to-noise ratio of functional magnetic resonance imaging, it is difficult to get a good estimate of neural activity elicited by task novelty: by the time one has collected enough trials for a good estimate, the task is no longer novel! However, a recent J Neurosci paper from Cole, Bagic, Kass &…

How do we detect important items in our environment? This crucial capacity has received less attention than one might think, and a number of extremely basic issues remain to be explored. For example, it has long been known that target probability has profound effects on the recruitment of the prefrontal cortex (such that lower-probability targets…

A really excellent PBS CBC (thanks m5) documentary on the surprising cognitive abilities of crows: Watch the full episode. See more Nature. See also how crows might be trained to do something a little more lucrative:

Sometimes, ground-breaking studies don’t get the attention they deserve – even from experts in the field. One great example of this is an elegant study by Nieuwenhuis et al. from CABN in 2003; in it, they conclusively demonstrate why a particular event-related potential – the negative-going frontocentral deflection at around 200ms following stimulus onset, aka…

Machines Learn How Brains Change

In last week’s Science, Dosenbach et al describe a set of sophisticated machine learning techniques they’ve used to predict age from the way that hemodynamics correlate both within and across various functional networks in the brain. As described over at the BungeLab Blog, and at Neuroskeptic, the classification is amazingly accurate, generalizes easily to two…